By Enrique Tessieri
The right-wing populist Perussuomalaiset (PS) may be the biggest party in Finland today according to a poll by YLE, but some see it as a ticking time bomb. By staying in the opposition and postponing its inner feuds and differences, Timo Soini has avoided a head-on collision within the party.
Anyone familiar with the PS understands that the party is a volatile and highly inflammable brew. If the former Rural Party wing led by Soini consists of one fifth of the party, one tenth is made up by the Nazi-spirited Suomen Sisu wing. The rest is a big question mark, according to some close to the PS.
The strategy by Soini is pretty simple: Everything will be fine as long as the party remains in the opposition and keeps its internal feuds from bubbling to the surface.
The shadow of the 1970s must hang deeply over the party despite promising poll results. When the Rural Party, which evolved into the PS in the 1990s, won in the 1970 election an impressive 17 seats from one in the previous election, the party imploded due to deep differences.
Even if Soini wants to play down what happened to its predecessor party forty years ago, it must be a scary reminder for him.
The big question we should ask is for how long can Soini keep the party united.
What will the PS be when and after it carries out its purges?
Will it ever be ready and capable of ruling the country?